Emergency exit routes are important because they provide a clear, safe way to evacuate a building in case of a crisis or disaster. First responders such as fire or police may also utilize emergency exits to enter a building during a disaster or crisis.
An emergency exit in a structure is a special exit for emergencies such as a fire: the combined use of regular and special exits allows for faster evacuation, while it also provides an alternative if the route to the regular exit is blocked by fire, etc.
The qualifications for an emergency exit are as follows: it must be in a location that is easily accessible, the exit must have an area or location that it can bring people to in the event of any emergency situation, it must be controlled by the inside of the building, it must be well managed and regularly up kept, and it must be in a permanent location.
It is usually in a strategically located (e.g. in a stairwell, hallway, or other likely places) outward opening door with a crash bar on it and with exit signs leading to it.
OSHA defines an emergency exit route as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety.
WHAT ARE THE THREE PARTS OF AN EXIT ROUTE?
Exit access – The portion of the route that leads to an exit. OSHA requires that an exit access must be at least 28 inches wide at all points.
Exit – The exit is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge.
Exit discharge – Leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside.
- Enable a Quick Escape
Emergency exits provide additional ways to escape the building in case of a fire or other catastrophe. When a facility has a lot of employees or customers, a traffic jam can occur when everyone tries to leave the building at once, slowing the evacuation. With more exit routes available, people leave quickly, greatly decreasing the risk of injury or death.
- Can Be Used if Another Exit Is Blocked
During a disaster, fire, smoke, or debris may block the main exit. Emergency exits provide an alternative escape route, allowing people to get out, even when the main doors are impassable. This is why it’s important that merchandise, furniture, or other items never block emergency doors.
- Prevent the Spread of Fire
Emergency exits also help prevent a fire from spreading because they act as an impenetrable barrier. Not only will this save lives and decrease the rate of injuries, but it will also mitigate the damage to the building, potentially saving money on costly repairs. Maintaining your fire exits is essential for the safety of your employees, as well as the bottom line for your business.